Detective Jay Halstead has officially left the Chicago Police Department.
The heartbreaking farewell was a moment Chicago P.D. fans had been dreading since actor Jesse Lee Soffer announced he would be leaving the NBC series after 10 seasons of playing the broody brunette detective.
The 38-year-old actor, who's been on the crime drama since 2014, appeared for the last time on Wednesday during the third episode of season 10. Although a few fans were afraid the Dick Wolfe-produced drama was going to kill him off, the character got a less intense send-off. Jay ends up leaving the C.P.D. Intelligence Unit to join an Army group that tracks cartel forces in Bolivia. Meanwhile, it's yet to be seen how this will affect Jay's relationship with his wife, Detective Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos).
Jesse posted an emotional series of photos on Instagram this week to say goodbye to his crime-fighting friend, writing, "I left it all out there for this one." Naturally, fans got a little teary-eyed.
"I just don’t think I’m ready," said one fan. Another wrote, "I will be living in denial. Anyone want to join me? I know a good contractor to add rooms! 😭😭😭 Not ready to say goodbye". One individual summed up many fans' thoughts: “I'LL BE WATCHING BUT IDK IF I'LL BE ABLE TO SEE THE SCREEN BECAUSE OF THE TEARS IN MY EYES😭.”
Jesse's on-screen partner, Tracy, also showed some love to her castmate of six years. "Until next time Jay Halstead ❤️," she wrote on Instagram.
So why is Jesse Lee Soffer leaving Chicago P.D.?
The news of Jesse's departure was announced by Variety back in August. Although he didn't share a specific reason for his exit, he did write in a statement, "I want to thank the incredible fans for their unwavering support during the past 10 years and want to express my deepest gratitude to Dick Wolf and everyone at Wolf Entertainment, Peter Jankowski, Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, Rick Eid, Gwen Sigan, NBC, Universal Television, my fellow castmates and our incredible crew."
He continued: "To create this hour drama week after week has been a labor of love by everyone who touches the show. I will always be proud of my time as Det. Jay Halstead.”
There are a few theories on why he's turning in his badge. But many believe after playing a role for such a long time Jesse most likely wanted to explore other career options.
And so, although Jay Halstead has now officially left the building, one can only hope he might drop in every now and then and surprise Chicago P.D. fans with a few guest appearances.
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